The NCCU Fab Lab is the first fab lab to open on a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campus, thanks to the collective efforts of the Innovation Inclusion Initiative of MIT and Title III of the US Department of Education. The NCCU Fab Lab is a digital prototyping platform for innovation and invention, providing stimulus for computational learning and local entrepreneurship. The NCCU Fab Lab is an educational outreach component of North Carolina Central University's College of Arts and Sciences.
The NCCU Fab Lab is the culmination of a dream that began with Clarence Williams, a 1961 NCCU graduate and professor emeritus at MIT, and was completed by Topper Carew, director of the Innovation and Inclusion Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, who selected the campus of NCCU to be the first HBCU campus for a chartered fab lab by Fab Academy. This vision was accepted by the late Chancellor Debra Saunders-White, who commemorated the opening of the NCCU Fab Lab on May 15, 2015, in the Mary Townes Science Complex.
Who is the Fab Lab for? The Fab Lab is open to anyone in the community. This includes NCCU students, staff and faculty, but also artists, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, parents and really anyone else from the community who is interested in making. Visitors are welcome to tour the NCCU FAB Lab. If you are interested in visiting our space, please complete the visitor registration form.
We reach people in four ways:
- Open lab (for NCCU affiliates): Our lab is open for free to NCCU students, faculty and staff several days a week. This includes times during the day, night and weekends.
- Bringing in groups and summer camps: We arrange special workshops with organizations frequently. Thanks to our regular staff, we are able to host these workshops at virtually any time. We also support camps with hundreds of attendees each summer.
- Event deployments: We often go out and run booths at events. We have a dedicated set of mobile tools, example creations and publicity materials to make this easy. This allows us to network with many people and break the lab out of the lab to raise awareness.
- Local partners: We have partnered with schools and community agencies to directly insert Fab Lab opportunities into powerful contexts in our community.
Does it cost money? There are no fees or memberships for NCCU affiliates, but we do charge for materials at-cost and minimal fees for tools. There are fees for non-NCCU affiliates and designated times for visitation and usage. Formal workshops may have fees and summer camps are priced to be competitive.
Do I need to make an appointment? Where do I start? Who do I talk to? Appointments are needed to tour the lab, but no appointments are needed to drop by and take a look during our open hours. We suggest you begin by talking to a staff person by emailing [email protected] or call 919-530-6033 with questions. If you have a large group or would like to tour, please schedule a tour or ask about a tour.
When are you open? The spring 2020 schedule for NCCU FAB Lab is as follows:
- Monday: 10 a.m. to 5 pm
- Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 4 pm
- Wednesday: Closed
- Thursday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where can I park? Visitor parking is available from NCCU Transportation for $5 per day. There are three adjacent streets: Concord Street, Lawson Street and Otis Street that have time-limited parking (2-hour parking) and open parking.
I represent a community organization. How can I schedule a workshop or partner with you? Please email [email protected] or talk to a staff member to learn more about our process of collaboration.
Can I drop my kids off at the Fab Lab? We do not permit unsupervised children under the age of 14 in the lab. Our lab is not equipped for the care of infants (e.g., changing stations and safe/clean floors).
Can I leave my project-in-progress somewhere in the Fab Lab? We have limited space to store in the lab based on size. If work on your project is not resumed within 2 weeks, it may be donated, discarded or recycled.